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Social engineering fraud

‘Social engineering fraud’ is a broad term that refers to the scams used by criminals to trick, deceive and manipulate their victims into giving out confidential information and funds.

Criminals exploit a person’s trust in order to find out their banking details, passwords or other personal data.

Scams are carried out online – for example, by email or through social networking sites – by telephone, or even in person.

Working with the private sector

The different types of fraud are often carried out by multiple fraudsters, with people in different countries handling the different stages of the crime. Given the difference in legislation between nations, this is a complicated type of international crime to investigate.

It is difficult to estimate the loss to individuals and companies as victims are often reluctant to report the crime, but total global losses are estimated to run to billions of dollars or euros per year.

What the industry is doing

INTERPOL is supporting a campaign started by a group of affected companies against the misuse of their company names for lottery scams. The Advance Fee Fraud Coalition includes the African Development Bank, Microsoft Corporation, the Western Union Company, and Yahoo!.

The Coalition has two main aims:

  • To raise public awareness and so prevent people falling victim to this type of scam;
  • To encourage victims to report their cases both to police in their home country and to the company in question. The data will then be passed on to INTERPOL, in order for the Organization to initiate and support international investigations.

The importance of collecting data

Scams are often carried out by Internet, mobile device or cell phone, and it is essential to gather as much related data as possible. For example:

  • Complete communication records (individual message content could lead directly to the perpetrators);
  • All e-mail addresses involved;
  • All telephone numbers involved;
  • Postal addresses;
  • Personal data of the scammers.

We strongly encourage the public, private sector and police agencies – especially High-Tech Crime units – to share as much information as possible, in order to curb this fast-growing type of crime.

News
08 September 2016

INTERPOL strengthens cooperation in combating corruption in Africa


01 August 2016

Ringleader of global network behind thousands of online scams arrested in Nigeria


20 June 2016

Criminal networks using stolen payment card data targeted in global operation


06 April 2016

Financial crime focus of Doha conference


31 March 2016

Coordinating efforts to better combat cybercrime focus of INTERPOL working group


17 December 2015

More than 500 arrested in INTERPOL operation targeting phone and email scams


03 December 2015

INTERPOL training on detecting fake documents aims to enhance border security


25 November 2015

Experts gather at INTERPOL to identify emerging social engineering fraud techniques


18 November 2015

Indian prime minister and INTERPOL Chief discuss cooperation


18 November 2015

Global asset recovery cooperation focus of INTERPOL-StAR conference


06 November 2015

More than 130 detained in global action tackling airline ticket fraud


02 October 2015

Identifying fake documents focus of INTERPOL and Frontex workshop


21 September 2015

INTERPOL training in Senegal tackles corruption and financial crimes


06 August 2015

Corruption and financial crime focus of INTERPOL training in Botswana


04 August 2015

Illegal online gambling in Asia targeted in INTERPOL operation


02 July 2015

Forensic document examination focus of Balkans INTERPOL training


29 June 2015

Global action against online air ticket fraudsters sees 130 detained


05 June 2015

INTERPOL group to field test new ink dating protocols to aid fraud and forgery investigations


02 June 2015

UK initiative underlines role of due diligence in securing official documents


19 May 2015

INTERPOL meeting in Bucharest aims to set the course for European security


30 January 2015

Estonia hosts INTERPOL workshop on anti-corruption and financial crimes


If you receive an email from someone claiming to represent INTERPOL, requesting personal information or bank account information, you should ignore it and treat it as spam.

Questions and answers